Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Prologues.

Don't.

Thinking about writing one? Think again. Then, in 99% of the cases, don't.

I'm not *absolutely* saying don't, but 99% of the time you can relate what needs to be related with introspection, dialogue, action, current narrative, or flashback. And 99% of the time a prolonged prologue sloooooooows the pace of the book. It also seduces the writer into including a lot more information than is really necessary. So, I'm saying, *absolutely* think about it first. Then, in 99% of the cases, don't. gg

I judged a contest once and amongst the entries recieved, two had prologues. Two. What are the odds? Time to buy a lotto ticket? Or time to shore up the ol' insurance policy?

These entries were well-written and entertaining, by the way, but the prologues were unnecessary. They were probably meant as a bridge of insight, or whatever, to the current story. <--Notice I said "current story". You know, your the story I hopefully will pay good money for? But instead these extra pages acted like instant kryptonite-nite. ::yawning:: on this super-reader. One story managed to have not only the standard "official" prologue but, as far as I could see from the synopsis, a stealth prologue. A post-prologue if you will, in the guise of Chapter One.

In prologue #1 we meet H's parents....before he's even born! Then in chapter one (prologue #2) h/H meet by happenstance before the hero goes off to keep a rendezvous with another girl, who later becomes his wife. End Chapter One. Years later, when the hero is now a widower, the heroine and he meet again, and here begins the story. wth?

Look, one thing you should know about romance readers, we get downright ornery when you don't deliver da goods. If the label on the spine says 'Romance' and the title sez something like: The Undercover Sheik's Virgin Loveslave, then we don't want to read pages and pages of backstory first. We want sheik, then we want virgin, then we want storystorystory, then we want not-virgin ::ochie:: with plenty of loveslaving ::more ochieing::. Got it?

Last, but not least, a belated ‘Whoo Hoo!” to Julie for writing *The End* this week on her second, eagerly anticipated by her editors and fans in waiting, Temptation.

And a Big, Big Shout-out to Sasha, who sold Gypsy Heart (mature language if you follow that link, kiddies) –

Gage’s story Sex —to Liquid Silver Books!!
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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! Very good points about prologues! I know when I've been tempted to write one, it's sheer lazyness on my part, I lack the skill/willpower/patience/whatever to LAYER it into the story in the relevant places. Thanks for visiting me, BTW!

Danica aka Dream

Jaye said...

Hey you! lol. Thanks for dropping by, Danica. I have your blog bookmarked now, so you'll be seeing more of me.... :-) Poor you, Suzanne didn't send me over, she sicced me on ya. heheh Suzanne's evil, in case you didn't know.

Sasha White said...

Funnily enough, I'm not a fan of prologues either, but there's one in The Devil Inside, my wip. LOL But it's only a page long, and it's uhmmm ....NOT boring. ;)

Anonymous said...

I prefer epilogues myself. Not in every story, but if there's more to tell about the characters, then please give it to me in an epilogue and don't leave me hanging. Jordan

Tisha from Texas said...

I had a prologue until the final edit. Just the word gave me the ickies in the tummy. I felt like I was pretending to be someone else writing my novel, someone who would use "herein" in a sentence seriously, know what I mean?
Anyway, I like your blog. Mine is chock full of ramblings, discussions, confessions, and a little bit about my writing passion. COme see if you get a chance.
http://tishasharpthewriter.blogspot.com

Julie said...

Thanks for the congrats, darlin! Or should we call you by your pimp name, now? ;-)

I agree, prologues are often like the writer sort of warming up. Totally unnecessary. Course, I've got them in two of my mss, but hey I never said I wasn't a hypocrite.

I think often it's useful to write them...and then slash them.

And thanks for the wolf sighting!

Anonymous said...

Only written one prologue, & it was for a Victorian story, & seemed to fit the tone of the era...it's a good excuse, at any rate...

So now you've got a Vanessa here AND a Dream! Just make me come up with a new name why dontcha!!

~Dreamweaver

Amie Stuart said...

I have one story left with a prologue (like ya'll I write then end up cutting them). This one I dont really see a way to set up without one or I'd cut it. But I think everything has an epilogue. They're nice wrap-ups....I like that. =)

Jaye said...

Sasha, and Julie, I've read your prologues. They made *absolute* sense, the way your books were structured, and didn't take away from your stories at all.

Like others, I've written a prologue, then ended up cutting it. It served it's purpose for me--as the writer--to help anchor me in the story. But the reader didn't really need the prologue, because I found other, more effective, opportunities to relay the info.

I haven't written an epilogue yet. But I plan to. I actually haven't read a lot of books with epilogues. so don't have an opinion on them either way. Some people hate the super syrupy endings showing the H/h with 7 kid and twins on the way, and cameo appearances by related characters from other books. Doesn't bother me. If I love the book, then I enjoy the chance to spend more time with the characters. Romances are already 'fairy-tale-ish' anyhow, so the 'sweet' ending doesn't turn me off.

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